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Overcoming Writer’s Block: Part Deux

Tackling the PowerPoint Deck

Recently I blogged about overcoming writer’s block and shared some advice from Britta Alexander, writer and editor. For Part 2, I’ve assembled a panel of strategists, account managers and writers who are required to write brilliant, bulletproof presentations – on the fly, under deadline pressure, over and over again whether they’re feeling inspired or not. These guys are native speakers of PowerPoint. They think in slides, headlines and bullets. Here are their top tips:

1.       I just write anything that comes to mind. I do titles and leave the body copy blank – like an outline.  Then I edit or discard later.

2.       When I’m not sure of the right way to serve up data, or how the story should flow, I write out the talking points in a Word outline. That way I don’t get hung up on what the big headlines should be. I write out exactly how to get from Point A to Point B, the major takeaways and recommendations, the data to support them, etc.  Once I’m satisfied, I translate the outline to headlines and slides.

3.       To get my mind thinking creatively, I Google the topic at hand using various iterations of the subject and I almost always find something that inspires me.

4.       I try to look at the creative challenge I’m facing from many different perspectives—including some perspectives that I know are “wrong.” By thinking about a topic in new ways, I can usually push myself through any barrier.

5.       Take a deep breath, poise fingers over the keyboard, and decide: If there’s just one thing I want to communicate, what is it? Sometimes I have to meditate on that question for a moment (or more!), but once I get that clarity and focus, the deck tends to flow from there.


Craig Black, Pharmaceutical Copywriter

Danny Flamberg, Managing Director, Digital Strategy & CRM, Kaplan Thaler Group

Nicole Gammino, VP, Marketing Strategy, McCann Erickson

Kim Johnson, EVP, Client Service & Strategy, The CementBloc

Johanna Skilling, EVP, Director of Strategy, Euro RSCG Life 4D

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